Keystone on Commonwealth FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is Pathways of Hope?

We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending hunger and homelessness in North Orange County. We were started as Fullerton Interfaith Emergency Service, born of the Faith community in the heart of Fullerton and have been serving the hungry and the homeless since 1975.

What is Keystone on Commonwealth?

Keystone on Commonwealth is an apartment community. It will use the Permanent Supportive Housing model to lift up (or assist) our formerly homeless community members, neighbors, and friends to become self-sufficient and independent members of our community. It will also be the home of Pathways of Hope’s permanent corporate headquarters.

What is Permanent Supportive Housing?

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is a nationally recognized, proven and cost-effective solution to meet the needs of vulnerable people with disabilities who are homeless, institutionalized, or at greatest risk of these conditions. The PSH approach integrates permanent, affordable rental housing with the best practice community-based supportive services needed to help people who are homeless and/or have serious and long-term disabilities – such as mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, substance use disorders, and chronic health conditions – access and maintain stable housing in the community.

More information on Permanent Supportive Housing can be found here and here.

How will Keystone help people experiencing homelessness?

Our community members who are vulnerable, sleeping outdoors, and experiencing homelessness at all levels, are people just like we are. They are mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons. Each has their own unique story of how they became and stayed homeless. But the journey back to a safe, healthy, happy life begins with a home. Only with a home are you able to find the stability necessary to regain control over your life, become healthy and whole again, and have your experience of homelessness ended. It is that safe, productive life that we want for all of our community members experiencing homelessness, and Keystone on Commonwealth’s entire purpose is to help with this. A keystone, as defined, is the most important stone in a piece of construction, the single piece that holds an arch together. A home is the keystone for all human beings to be able to move forward safely with their lives.

Why Permanent Supportive Housing?

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • PSH creates homes for the most vulnerable homeless individuals who have been on the streets the longest and likely have re-occurring health issues that have been exacerbated by prolonged homelessness, who would otherwise have no other option for housing.
  • PSH saves tax payers money. It costs twice as much ($100K annually) when someone is sleeping outside than it does to provide housing for them ($50K annually). Check out the Orange County United Way / UC Irvine Cost Study for more information. The Rand Corporation recently finished a study that corroborates all previous research on the cost savings and societal benefits of Permanent Supportive Housing.
  • PSH increases public health and safety when the most vulnerable population is housed, as opposed to living outside, on the streets, in cars, parks and other places not meant for human habitation.
  • PSH reduces strain on first responders by helping our local homeless population become housed and stable.
  • PSH improves business activities by reducing the number of individuals experiencing homelessness living near businesses.
  • PSH improves property values by reducing the number of individuals experiencing homelessness living outside near homes.
  • PSH also addresses one of the most important crises our state faces: housing. Homelessness and housing supply is inextricably linked, as examined by this recent San Francisco Chronicle article.

Why Fullerton?

Fullerton has a homeless population in the hundreds. Per the Orange County United Way / UC Irvine cost study, 68% of those surveyed have been homeless in Orange County for ten years or longer. Many of the people who are experiencing homelessness locally are from Fullerton or have attachment to Fullerton in a meaningful way. We know this from outreach conducted in the local homeless community with our community partners.

Fullerton (and all cities) must do more to work with their homeless population directly. Other cities will not build or create the housing necessary to support Fullerton’s homeless population. Each of the 34 cities in Orange County must do more to provide Permanent Supportive Housing for its community’s most vulnerable chronic homeless population.

Why 1600 W. Commonwealth?

In light of some of the current pressure to solve homelessness in Orange County with the Federal Lawsuit, the re-alignment of resources at both the County and State level, and the Associated Cities of California Orange County plan to develop 2700 Permanent Supportive Housing units, Pathways of Hope approached the City of Fullerton in February 2018 to begin exploring potential sites where we could work collaboratively to develop Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) to take down the number of PSH units Fullerton needed and would be accountable for in order to serve its chronically homeless community members.

Are there other examples of Permanent Supportive Housing in Orange County?

Yes there are! Several of our friends and partners in the work to end homelessness have successful communities already operating in cities such as Anaheim, Santa Ana, and even Newport Beach!

Diamond: 25 units for individuals and families that are homeless with chronic mental health disabilities

The Orchard: 72 total units for chronically homeless individuals

The Cove: 12 total units for veterans and low-income seniors

Coming soon: 75 units for homeless veterans

Who will pay for Keystone on Commonwealth?

The County of Orange is working to consolidate multiple streams of revenue from the State and personal philanthropy to ensure that funding is available for Permanent Supportive Housing projects.

The vouchers for each unit will be provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to secure income from each unit in order to pay back loans taken out for construction costs.

Who will manage the property?

Leasing, landscape, and maintenance will be handled by our builder partner, C&C Development, and on-site programming will be handled by Pathways of Hope and their program partners.

Who will own the property?

Pathways of Hope and its finance and construction partners will own the property. Because of the housing agreement with the City of Fullerton and the covenants on the HUD vouchers, the land will have strict use regulations around affordable supportive housing.

How will this change the neighborhood? Will it affect property values?

Keystone on Commonwealth will be a beautiful addition to the neighborhood at 1600 W. Commonwealth and to the city of Fullerton. It will blend seamlessly with Fullerton’s rich history and landscape, featuring classic architecture and a beautiful garden. Pathways of Hope will have staff on site 24/7 to ensure a safe, clean, healthy, happy environment for all Keystone residents and for neighbors like you.

Several studies indicate that supportive housing has a very minimal, if any, impact in a negative way on local communities. You can visit this site for more information.

How will this benefit my community?

Ending homelessness in our community has many benefits. It makes our neighborhoods a safer, healthier, happier place for every single resident of Fullerton.

It is also surprisingly cost effective for our city. Having chronically homeless individuals on our streets is more expensive than providing them with housing. The University of California at Irvine estimates that one person living on the street costs our community over $100,000 in resources like public works, law enforcement, and healthcare.

A community like Keystone on Commonwealth will reduce that $100,000 cost by 50% and will be supported by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It will decrease the strain on our first responders, our emergency rooms, and our public works departments, saving our city substantial money. It will make our beautiful city an even better place to live.

What will Keystone look like?

Our initial site plans feature a Spanish Mission-style architecture apartment community, similar to many structures that pepper Fullerton’s landscape, particularly downtown. Pathways of Hope’s Hope’s Corner apartment community features a similar look and style near downtown. Aside from that, it will look like a normal modern apartment community with ample green space. It is likely that the Keystone buildings will mitigate some train noise in the neighboring communities due to the shape of the lot and the need for walls near the railroad tracks. Check out this video for examples of Permanent Supportive Housing:

 

Who is building this apartment community and managing the facilities and landscape?

C&C Development will build the apartment community and manage the facilities and the landscaping. They have an impeccable reputation in developing beautiful and well-maintained Affordable/Workforce housing communities in Orange County, and they are a locally owned family business. For more information about C&C or to see examples of their work in the community, you can visit their website: www.c-cdev.com.

What types of people will be served by the PSH program? Who will qualify?
How will they enroll?

Keystone will be the home of people who were formerly chronically homeless, with immediate ties to the City of Fullerton. Once they establish tenancy at Keystone, they will no longer be experiencing homelessness. To learn more about the definitions of homelessness, visit the website of the National Alliance to End Homelessness: www.endhomelessness.org.

Community members will be eligible for the program if they are chronically homeless, regularly utilizing services in Fullerton, staying in Fullerton or are from Fullerton prior to entering homelessness. They will be assessed to verify that they have a disability condition and the proper documentation in order and they have been receptive to case management services prior to claiming and entering a Keystone apartment.

There are several outreach teams that work in North Orange County that have regular contact with the future residents of Keystone. They will work with Pathways of Hope on securing appropriate documentation and any necessary background screenings, assessments, and applications prior to admittance.

This article is a great opportunity to learn more about homelessness and dispel common myths about who becomes homeless and why.

What types of services will the residents receive? What will the day-to-day lives of the people living at Keystone look like?

Every resident will have their own individual journey towards stability and advancement in their lives once their homelessness has ended. Keystone will have dedicated professional Service Navigators assigned to each resident to help align the services necessary to prosper, along with regular classes and resources available in the areas of emotional and mental health support, career development and job placement, physical disability assistance, financial management, community college and technical training, and substance use management.

How will Pathways of Hope limit occupancy?

Pathways of Hope will work closely with residents of Keystone to ensure that occupancy of each unit is limited to who is named on the lease, which is the same as with any apartment community. In most cases this will be a single adult, and from time to time, it may include a partnered couple that come into the unit together. Entryways and exits will be monitored carefully for unexpected and uninvited visitors. Violation of these rules, and the allowance of people not named on a lease to take residence or stay for an extended period will result in program violations, which can lead to removal from the program and relocation to a more appropriate housing setting.

Will illegal substances be allowed at Keystone?

Keystone will follow a Housing First model program, with an emphasis on harm reduction as a means to treat substance addiction. However, illegal activity will not be allowed at Keystone, and anyone suspected of such activity may be reported to law enforcement. Our goal is to assist those who are using substances to utilize the stability of a home to reduce and end their use of substances to move forward with improving their health and towards a safe, productive lifestyle.

Here is more information on the Housing First model and more information on Harm Reduction for treating substance abuse.

What will happen if a Keystone resident doesn’t comply with the rules of the program?
What happens if they are removed from the program?

Pathways of Hope will be required to work with other local service providers to find a housing resource that is more appropriate for those that are found in non-compliance of the rules of Keystone. A basic rulebook will include compliance with all laws and rules typically developed for any apartment community and follow and comply with California state law with respect to evictions.

The Orchard, a Permanent Supportive Housing community in Santa Ana, has had a 98% retention rate through their six months of operations.

What type of security will Keystone have?

Pathways of Hope will move its entire headquarters to Keystone and be there working every single day. The working schedules of Service Navigators will be off-set on a spread schedule, covering up to 18 hours per day.

Two units will be reserved for paid Resident Manager positions within Pathways who will be onsite overnight in the event of incidents. That means Pathways of Hope staff will be on site 24/7. Other Security Features (guard, cameras, gates) are TBD as a site plan develops for City Council Approval.

Will you admit sex offenders?

No. Registered sex offenders will not be allowed at the property per HUD rule 2012-28.

Our screening process will involve a thorough background check and personal review of criminal behavior.

You can find more information on the law going to effect that will allow lower-level sex offenders to potentially deregister here.

How do we know the soil isn’t toxic?

The Olson Group project from the mid-2000s ran soil and Phase 1 and Phase 2 Environmental Impact Reports and found no reason to keep a project there from moving forward. These results were certified by the Fullerton City Council. In the event Keystone moves forward, all of these tests will be re-run. In the event remediation does become necessary, Pathways of Hope and its building partner will examine the costs and determine if it is possible to continue.

Will Keystone exacerbate the homelessness problem in Fullerton?

No. Keystone will not have walk-up services, a food pantry, a check-in center, a place to store things, a shelter, or anything of the sort. It will have a leasing office, our corporate office, and apartment units developed to end homelessness for individuals. Instead of exacerbating homelessness, it will provide a housing solution to end homelessness for people in our community.

Will Keystone increase crime in Fullerton?

No. All data, all research, and all lived-experience near Permanent Supportive Housing sites on par with Keystone show that neighborhood crime is not increased by the presence of a Permanent Supportive Housing community.

Does the city have a plan for where to relocate their storage space?

The city has expressed that this land is not necessary with respect to their own needs for storage.

What kind of “Good-Neighbor” policy will Keystone have?

Pathways of Hope will develop, with the help of the Community Leaders, a Good Neighbor handbook for both residents of Keystone and residents of the local community to understand guidelines, expectations of residents, who to call in the event of concerns, etc.

Pathways of Hope will hold a monthly meeting on-site with local residents to address any concerns, and will check in regularly with the local businesses to ensure we are conscious of any potential problems or issues and make ourselves available for discussion

What does Pathways of Hope’s programming currently do?

Pathways owns and operates multiple properties in Fullerton and Anaheim.

In Fullerton, Pathways owns and operates
– 56 Shelter Beds
– 8 Units of Bridge Housing (six 2 bedrooms, two studios)
– 4 Transitional Beds for Chronically Homeless individuals who are high-frequency users of St. Jude’s Emergency Room

In Anaheim, Pathways owns and operates
– 11 Apartment Units that constitute 52 Shelter Beds

In North Orange County, Pathways manages
– Over 40 Rapid Rehousing Households (both families and individuals)
– 7 Permanent Supportive Housing Units
– A homeless diversion and prevention program to keep people in their present housing and out of the homeless system
– Food distribution to over 1,000 households facing food insecurity each month

Check out our video to hear more about the work we do in our community:

I have more questions. Whom can I contact?

You can reach out to our Executive Director, David Gillanders. He is happy to discuss Keystone on Commonwealth and its community benefits with you and answer any questions you may have. Give him a call or send him an email any time:

David Gillanders ∙ Executive Director
dgillanders@pohoc.org ∙ (714) 680-3691 ext. 201